FEW things feel more British than a fish and chip takeaway.
But while most of us stick to cod or haddock, our country’s shores boast a spectacular range of seafood that can really brighten up your supper.
Top chef and seafood champion Rick Stein, says: “We are incredibly fortunate to have some of the best fish in the world swimming around our coast.
“Curiously though we don’t eat a lot of it, it all gets exported to the EU – or used to.
“Now with Brexit, we all need to eat more gloriously healthy fish to look after our fishermen.
“So come on everyone, eat more fish!”
Here, Rick shares some of his best British fish recipes.
Goujons of Cornish sole with Parmesan breadcrumbs
(Serves 4 as a first course)
- 500g skinned lemon sole fillets
- 100g fresh white breadcrumbs or Japanese panko breadcrumbs
- 25g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Sunflower oil, for deep-frying
- 50g plain flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Lemon wedges, to serve
METHOD: Lightly season each lemon sole fillet with salt and cut diagonally across into strips about the thickness of your little finger.
Mix the breadcrumbs with the grated Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper.
Heat some oil for deep-frying to 190C and line a baking tray with plenty of kitchen paper.
Coat the goujons a few at a time in the flour, then in the beaten egg and finally in the breadcrumb mixture, making sure they take on an even coating and remain separate.
Drop a handful into the oil and deep-fry for about one minute until crisp and golden.
Lift out with a slotted spoon on to the paper-lined tray to drain and repeat with the remainder, making sure the oil has come back to temperature first.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Where to buy affordable British fish
RICK SAYS: “Let’s face it, the most common place you are likely to buy fish is your supermarket.
“If you are lucky enough to have a fishmonger nearby it’s by far and away the best place to buy fish, but I’ve written all these recipes with supermarket fish in mind.
“I take delight in buying supermarket fish, just to see what’s available and, more often than not, it’s good.”
Crab with pasta, parsley and chilli
- 350g trenette, linguine or spaghetti
- 3 medium tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
- 225g white crab meat, cooked
- 50g brown crab meat, cooked
- 1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley
- ½ lemon, juice only
- 50ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 good pinch of dried, crushed chilli
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
METHOD: Boil the pasta in plenty of well-salted water until tender but still firm with some bite to it.
The best way to cook pasta until it is al dente is to keep biting until it feels right.
Warm the tomatoes, white and crown crab meat, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, chilli and garlic over a low heat.
Let the mixture warm through but don’t let it boil or you will alter the flavours.
Place the pasta on four warmed plates and spoon over the sauce.
Grilled hake on spring mash with soy butter
- 4 x 200g pieces of skin-on thick hake fillet
- A little melted butter, for brushing
- 1 tsp salt
- Sea salt flakes and coarsely crushed black pepper
- For the spring onion mash:
- 1.25kg Maris Piper or other floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 50g butter
- 1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced
- A little milk
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
For the soy butter sauce:
- 600ml chicken stock
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 75g unsalted butter
- 1 tomato, skinned, seeded and diced
- 1 tsp chopped coriander
METHOD: Put the fish, skin-side down, in a shallow dish and sprinkle with the salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Then rinse the salt off and dry the fish on kitchen paper.
Brush each piece with melted butter and put skin-side up on a greased baking tray.
Sprinkle the skin with a few sea salt flakes and some black pepper.
For the spring onion mash, cook the potatoes in boiling water for 20 minutes until tender.
For the sauce, put the chicken stock and soy sauce into another pan and boil rapidly until it has reduced by half. Preheat the grill to high.
Grill the hake for eight minutes on one side only. Just before the fish is ready, add the butter to the sauce and whisk it in.
Remove from the heat and add the tomato and coriander.
Drain the potatoes, return to the pan and mash until smooth.
Heat the butter in another pan, add the spring onions and turn them over in the butter for a few seconds.
Beat them into the potato with a little milk and some salt and white pepper.
Spoon the spring onion mash into the centre of four warmed plates.
Rest the hake on top and spoon the sauce around the outside.
Stir-fried squid with red chilli and spring onions
(Serves 4 as a first course)
- 350g prepared squid
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- ½ tsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 medium hot red chilli, thinly sliced on the diagonal (seeds removed, if you prefer)
- 3 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
For the salad:
- ¼ cucumber, peeled, halved and seeded
- 50g beansprouts
- 25g watercress, large stalks removed
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp roasted sesame oil
- ¼ tsp caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
METHOD: For the salad, cut the cucumber length-ways into short strips.
Toss with the beansprouts and watercress and set aside in the fridge until needed.
Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and salt.
Heat a small, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat.
Add the black and Sichuan peppercorns and dry-roast for a few seconds, shaking the pan now and then, until they darken slightly and become aromatic.
Coarsely crush, then stir in the sea salt flakes.
Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking.
Add half the oil and half the squid and stir fry for two minutes, until lightly coloured.
Tip on to a plate, then repeat with the remaining oil and the rest of the squid.
Return the first batch of squid to the wok and add one tsp of the salt and pepper mixture (the rest can be used in other stir-fries).
Toss together for about ten seconds, then add the red chilli and spring onions and toss together very briefly.
Serve immediately, with the dressed salad alongside.
Grilled miso salmon with noodles, spring onions and beansprouts
- 4 x 150g salmon steaks
- 50ml vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- 20g fresh ginger, grated
- 8 spring onions, sliced
- 1 medium red chilli, thinly sliced
- 200g dried rice noodles, boiled for three minutes and drained
- 100g beansprouts
- Small handful of coriander, chopped
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
For the miso glaze:
- 10g red miso paste
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp hot smoked paprika (Spanish pimenton)
- 1 tbsp water
METHOD: Mix together the ingredients for the miso glaze and use it to paint the fish steaks.
Place the steaks on an oiled grilling tray and turn on the grill.
Heat the oil in a wok and stir fry the garlic, ginger, spring onions and chilli for a couple of minutes.
Then add the noodles, beansprouts and coriander.
Grill the fish steaks for about five minutes, turning once.
Stir the fish sauce into the stir-fried vegetables, then arrange on plates and top with the fish to serve.
The Stein guide to best of British
“These are incredible value for money and they are widely available.
“The simplest way to cook them is to steam them in a pan with the lid on with a splash of white wine and stir in some butter, parsley and maybe a touch of garlic.”
“I buy this vacuum packed from my local Tesco and find it very good quality and a deliciously meaty fish.”
“It’s unlikely that you will come across wild sea bass, but farmed fish is really good.
“Conveniently, one fish is about right for a single serving.
“Of similar quality is sea bream, also delicious.”
“Sardines are unbelievable value for money and are caught daily during the season – August to February. They are best grilled or barbecued.
“They used to be known as pilchards, but the market was transformed by re-naming them Cornish sardines.”
BRITISH BROWN CRAB
“This is the best- tasting crab in the world.
“Crab is still really good value for money. It’s tastiest if you buy your own and pick it yourself but I appreciate it’s a bit of a task for most of us.
“Crab meat is still a great buy – look out for the back shells of white and brown meat, called dressed crab, in your supermarket.”
“This is really one for your fishmonger. Occasionally it can be good in supermarkets, but it’s a bit hit and miss.
“Squid doesn’t need to be battered or breadcrumbed but doing either is also delicious – and makes a few squid rings go a long way.”
“It is best simply stir fried in garlic and ginger with a bit of chilli to give it a South East Asian flavour or more gently pan fried with olive oil and garlic for a Mediterranean flavour.
Grilled scallops with toasted hazelnut and coriander butter
- 16 prepared scallops in the shell
- 25g unsalted butter, melted
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the toasted hazelnut and coriander butter:
- 20g unblanched hazelnuts
- 75g unsalted butter, softened
- 7g coriander leaves
- 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 7g shallots, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
METHOD: Spread the hazelnuts over a baking tray and toast under the grill for 4-5 minutes, shaking the tray now and then, until they are golden brown.
Tip them into a clean tea towel and rub off the skins.
Leave to cool, then chop them roughly and tip them into a food processor.
Add the softened butter with the coriander, parsley, shallots, lemon juice, a good pinch of salt and some pepper and blend together until well mixed.
Pre-heat the grill to high.
Place the scallop shells on a large baking tray (or do them in batches if necessary).
Brush the scallops with the melted butter and season with a little salt and pepper, then grill for 1½ minutes.
Drop a generous teaspoonful of the hazelnut and coriander butter on to each scallop and return to the grill for 1½ minutes, until cooked through.
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